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Greece burns in one of the deadliest fires in decades in Europe

A compilation of the worst tragedies that the continent has experienced in recent years

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Greece burns in one of the deadliest fires in decades in Europe
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  • At least 50 dead and 156 injured by several fires in Greece
  • Direct fires in Greece, latest live news

The serious fires that have left at least 50 dead and 156 injured on Monday in Greece have become one of deadliest in recent decades in Europe. The country has already suffered a tragedy of similar dimensions when 77 people lost ir lives in more than 3,000 forest fires recorded in Peloponnese peninsula in 2007. This incident, along with that which was declared in Portugal last year, is placed among deadliest of 21st century.

Portugal 2017

The fire began in October 2017 in town of Pedrógão Grande, in region of Leiria, located in center of Portugal. The Flames quickly advanced through pine-covered hills and eucalyptus trees between villages of Pedrógão Grande, Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera. The expansion of fire caused more than 2,000 troops displaced for extinction task to take more than four days to control 70% of more than 500 fires that turned country into a boiler.

Two women cover ir mouths with handkerchiefs while in fires in Portugal of 2017. P. DE MELO MOREIRA AFP

The event was killed by nearly 70 people, many of whom died trapped in ir homes and vehicles while trying to escape by road. According to firefighters ' account, victims died "melted" because of temperatures of more than 800 degrees that were reached in affected areas.

The destruction provoked by fire caused damages and losses that were encrypted in 1.458 billion of euros. For this reason, European Union approved last winter an aid of 50.6 million euros from Solidarity Fund to recover area.

Portugal is usually country of Europe with highest number of fires and burnt surface. On average, fires in Portugal are six times that of Spain. There are years when more than half of extent destroyed across Europe is Portuguese when country occupies only 92,000 square kilometres of EU's 4.4 million. From Coimbra to Bragança, orography reminds a lot of Galicia; Both regions concentrate fires of ir respective countries and share climate, rural smallholdings and ir abandonment.

A firefighter is protected from fire after houses in Pampilhosa da Serra. PAULO Novais EFE

Portugal had already been beaten in 2003 by gigantic fires due to heat wave, which swept center and south of country for weeks and killed 20 people. Nearly 425,000 hectares were razed. Likewise, in 1966 a fire in Sintra Forest in west of Lisbon caused death of 25 soldiers who tried in vain to fight flames.

Russia 2015 a man tries to save his house from Flames in Siberia in 2015. E. Y AP

In 2015, 34 people died in gigantic fires that devastated mid-April 10,000 square kilometres in Siberia (Russia). From Khakassia (South Siberia), fires that destroyed 2,000 houses, spread to Mongolia and continued to virtually reach border with China, according to Russian section of Greenpeace. More than 5,000 troops participated in extinction tasks.

Five years earlier, in 2010, western part of country, faced with an unprecedented heat wave and drought, was devastated by fires that killed some 60 people between end of July and end of August. It ended up destroying more than a million hectares of forests, peat bogs and thickets and whole villages were burned.

Greece 2007 Flames burn near a house during fires that affected Greece in 2007. Efe

In a precedent of events that occurred on Monday, at least 77 people died a little more than a decade ago in Greece. It was August 2007. The flames wreaked havoc on 250,000 hectares in Peloponnese (south of country) and on Evia Island (norastern Ans, country's capital). Many of victims died while attempting to flee from localities surrounded by flames, which also threatened archeological site of ancient Olympia, with more than 2,500 years of history, and a world-famous place where Olympic Games of Antique, with its old stadium and temple dedicated to god Apollo-Zeus.

In 2012, five people were accused of being responsible for se fires and sentenced to a 10-year sentence by a court in Peloponnese.

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